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New Orleans Morns the Loss of Jazz Legend Alvin Batiste

by Vincent Sylvain, The New Orleans Agenda

New Orleans mourns the loss of veteran clarinetist Alvin Batiste who passed away in his sleep early Sunday morning, May 6, 2007. Batiste was scheduled to perform at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival later today. His most current CD; Marsalis Music Honors Alvin Batiste is with Bradford Marsalis and other notable Jazz musicians. It also includes a reading by wife, Mrs. Edith Chatters Batiste.

Several well known musicians studied under Alvin Batiste while at Southern University. They include Randy Jackson (American Idol), his brother Herman, Brandford Marsalis, Donald Harrison, Henry Butler, Kent Jordan, Micheal Ward, Herlin Riley, Charlie Singleton (Cameo), Woodie Douglas (Spirit) and others.

His Columbia album billed him as a Legendary Pioneer of Jazz. Alvin Batiste is an avant-garde player who does not fit easily into any classification. Under-recorded throughout his career, Batiste was a childhood friend of Ed Blackwell and he spent time in Los Angeles in 1956 playing with Ornette Coleman. However, Batiste chose the life of an educator in Louisiana where he taught music at Southern University in Baton Rouge where her created the Batiste Jazz Institute and currently at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) where served as lead teacher in jazz instrumental music.

Batiste recorded with the AFO (all for one) quintet in New Orleans, performed with Cannonball Adderley, and toured with Ray Charles in 1958, but was an obscure legend until he made three albums with Clarinet Summit in the 1980s (a quartet also including John Carter, David Murray, and Jimmy Hamilton). Batiste recorded an album, Bayou Magic, in 1988 as a leader for India Navigation and made the 1993 Columbia album Late. Songs, Words and Messages, Connections appeared in 1999, followed by Marsalis Music Honors Alvin Batiste in 2007.

Batiste also performs on the Marlon Jordan featuring Stephanie Jordan 2005 CD which was a production of the Jordan-Chatters-Batiste family. Arrangements will be announced once complete.



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